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Bringing deficit under EU threshold

Hungary is committed to bringing its general government deficit under the European Union threshold of 3% of GDP both this year and the next, National Economy Ministry state secretary Zoltán Cséfalvay told the European Parliament's Economy Committee on Wednesday.

Cséfalvay told the committee that Hungary's government had sent a letter to the European Commission at the beginning of February outlining new adjustment measures that will serve to keep the deficit down. He added that the measures would reduce the gap by 0.4% of GDP, compared to the Commission's projection of a 3.25%-of-GDP deficit.

He said it was hoped the Commission would deem the measures to reduce the deficit sufficient in light of the latest announcements.

The Commission said a week earlier that it proposed the suspension of €495 million of Cohesion Fund allocations for Hungary for 2013 because of the country's failure to address its excessive deficit.

Cséfalvay said Hungary's official talks with the EU and the IMF on precautionary financial assistance could start after the Commission's assessment of the country's responses delivered in ongoing infringement procedures. He added that it was in the best interests of all parties involved to start wind up the talks quickly.